FEMA Open House Explained Changes to Flood Risk Areas for RWC Residents

The City of Redwood City recently hosted an Open House with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to help property owners better understand FEMA’s preliminary Flood Insurance Rate Maps and related impacts. More than 100 residential and commercial property owners participated, getting updates on local flood hazards and ways they can mitigate their flood risk before the maps go into effect in 2017. These participants had the opportunity to ask FEMA experts, as well as City Building, Engineering and Planning experts, more about how these changes will impact their lives and businesses.

Staff from Community Development, including personnel from the Building, Engineering and Planning division were on hand to guide the public to the appropriate FEMA representatives and workstations.


For those who couldn’t make the meeting, here are the some resources to help you understand how these changes impact you.

Note: All of Redwood Shores is “secluded” on the new preliminary flood insurance rate maps released on August 13, 2015 by FEMA. This means properties within Redwood Shores will not see any impact as a result of the preliminary products (i.e. flood study, flood insurance rate maps, etc).

New preliminary flood insurance maps, which help you understand your location’s risks:

FEMA’s website offers this definition of Flood Hazard Areas:

Flood hazard areas identified on the Flood Insurance Rate Map are identified as a Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA). SFHA are defined as the area that will be inundated by the flood event having a 1-percent chance of being equaled or exceeded in any given year. The 1-percent annual chance flood is also referred to as the base flood or 100-year flood. SFHAs are labeled as Zone A, Zone AO, Zone AH, Zones A1-A30, Zone AE, Zone A99, Zone AR, Zone AR/AE, Zone AR/AO, Zone AR/A1-A30, Zone AR/A, Zone V, Zone VE, and Zones V1-V30. Moderate flood hazard areas, labeled Zone B or Zone X (shaded) are also shown on the FIRM, and are the areas between the limits of the base flood and the 0.2-percent-annual-chance (or 500-year) flood. The areas of minimal flood hazard, which are the areas outside the SFHA and higher than the elevation of the 0.2-percent-annual-chance flood, are labeled Zone C or Zone X (unshaded).

Individual Property Information:

To view individual properties go to the City of Redwood City’s public facing GIS.

Click Layers/Legend in sidebar > Expand Hazards > Select 2017 Preliminary Flood Zone (tentative).

Other Resources:

For more information on flood maps and how they impact your insurance, check out the FEMA Flood Changes Informational Handout and National Flood Insurance Program links.

Still have questions? Call the City of Redwood City’s engineering department at (650) 780–7380.

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